How to Interpret Your Lab Tests
In our new book FEELING FAT, FUZZY
OR FRAZZLED? (Hudson
Street/ Penguin 2005) we are recommending saliva testing
as a superior method to evaluate hormone status. This process
is useful for most of us, whether you are mildly affected
by hormone imbalance, severely impacted and unable to function,
or simply wondering if the hormone issue is a factor in
your everyday health.
We have created an opportunity for health consumers to
obtain saliva testing without necessarily working with
a practitioner, though in our book we clearly suggest you
work with someone trained in saliva testing and hormone
balancing when possible. This testing, offered through
the Canary Club, enables people to order saliva kits online,
which are sent to you directly with simple instructions.
Once you fill the enclosed tubes with saliva, you send
the kit back and within 10 days after they have received
your kit, results from your scores are posted on the canaryclub.org website.
What you're looking for with these tests is to find out
whether you are totally normal in these three hormone arenas,
or whether one or more is showing some abnormality. One
of the most useful pieces of information, as discussed
below, is to determine which of these three hormone systems
is currently causing you the most difficulty.
Once you get your scores, then what?
First you need to interpret your tests. Here are some
simple clues to help you do this:
1. Start with the thyroid panel first.
There are 4 separate determinations each measuring a different
facet of your thyroid function.
A. TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone)
measures how much your brain and pituitary are asking
for more thyroid. A higher than normal number indicates
that your "control room" is asking
your thyroid gland to produce more thyroid hormone, because your current
levels are too low. Conversely, if your TSH is lower than normal, this
means the amount of thyroid hormone now in your tissues
is too high.
The ideal place to be on this measurement is in the lower third of normal range.
B. T4 (thyroxine - stable storage and transport
form of thyroid hormone)
This is the actual level of the thyroid hormone that
the thyroid gland makes and releases into the body. It
is considered the "inactive" form,
from which active thyroid hormone is made. The ideal level is to be in the
middle third of the normal range.
C. T3 (thyronine or tri-iodothyronine - active
T3 measures the amount of thyroid hormone that has already been converted from
T4 and is ready to go to work in your tissues. The ideal level is the middle
third of normal range.
D. Thyroid peroxidase antibody (TPO or microsomal
THis measures whether or not your system is making antibodies
against the thyroid gland. A negative means "no, it isn't" ; a positive means "yes,
it is making antibodies".
The ideal is to be negative, or "none".
2. Next, consider your reproductive
hormone scores. Both
genders have estrogen, progestone, and testosterone levels.
The range of normal differs for males & females.
A. Estrogen - ideally this score falls in the middle third
of the normal range, depending on whether you are having
periods or postmenopausal, and if you're having periods
if you were tested during the early (follicular) part of
your cycle or the latter part of cycle (luteal). Normals
are listed for each of these categories.
B. Progesterone - This is a hormone that is considered
a balancer of estrogen levels. It is interpreted same as
C. Free Testosterone - Measures androgen levels; you want
to be ideally in middle of normal range.
3. Adrenal Testing (ASI or Adrenal Stress Index)
A. 4 sample cortisol levels (8 am, noon, 4 pm, 11 pm)
Ideal would be to be in middle of normal range listed
as "Ref values" for
Your score shows as dark black line entirely within the 2 dotted lines (upper
dotted line = upper end of normal range, lower dotted line - lower end of normal
range ) . Ideally you would be in the middle of those two dotted lines.
B. DHEA (dehydroepiandrosterone). This is the main reservoir
of all other adrenal hormones, and you want to be midline
in the normal range of 3-10.
C. A third determination is the
In this instance, you are the tiny black square on graph
to right of wording. You want your little black square
to be within the normal range reference rectangle that
is the smaller shaded part of the graph. If you are outside
the normal reference area, the lower the number of the
rectangle your square is in, the more normal your result.
4. Comparison of the Three Tests:
Ideal levels are basically the middle of normal range
(except for TSH described above).
*If you were normal in thyroid and normal in reproductive
hormones, but showed abnormals in adrenal testing, then
you have a clear cut situation revealing that adrenal is
your current major issue (in our book, this means you are
the adrenal or emotional endo- type).
* If adrenal and reproductive testing was normal, and
only thyroid showed problems, then you are the "physical" endocrine
type, and should immediately begin recommendations as
listed in FEELING FAT FUZZY OR FRAZZLED? for thyroid
* If reproductive problems alone show up, then you need
to initiate rebalancing efforts for the mental endo-type
as per our book.
If there are abnormalities that show up in your testing
on two or more gland systems, you need to find your endocrine
type by determining which set of results is most abnormal,
according to the ideal ranges listed above. The
most abnormal system is the one you begin to re-balance
first. Then later,
if still needed, you can re-balance the second most abnormal
system according to the recommendations for over-the-counter
If there is controversy, be sure to include information
gained in your self-evaluation questionnaires provided
in chapter 3 of our book. Therefore, your next step would
be to use the suggestions for immediate, intermediate,
and long-term adrenal re-balancing.
If you are working with a practitioner, simply share these
results with that person and strive to get their best input.
Remember that everyone's approach is slightly different.
Some practitioners would use this information to start
you on over-the-counter products, then move you to prescription
items if more help was needed.
If you or your practitioner would like help in interpreting
these test results or in deciding on the best course of
action based on these results, you
may elect to have a coaching session with Dr. Shames.
Simply go to www.feelingfff.com and preview the information
related to telephone coaching
You can arrange for a "practitioner consultation" (25
minutes max. for a reduced fee) or you can speak with Dr.
Shames for an hour for a prepaid appointment by telephone.
Your practitioner can be included on conference call if
We hope this information is helpful as you seek to reclaim
Blessings on your journey, Karilee & Rich Shames
Authors: Feeling Fat, Fuzzy or Frazzled?